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March 14, 2014     Post-Gazette
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Page 6 POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 14, 2014 Bucky's "Library" has Closed by Sal Giarratani When I moved to East Bos- ton about three years ago, I met Bucky Spataro at the Bennington Street Dunkin' Donuts up by Orient Heights after joining the Knights of Dunkin' Donuts gang. The regulars at the shop formed a men's group years ago and eventually let the gals in, too. Almost nightly they gather to talk about their day, politics, the casino issue, etc. We all read the Post-Gazette and I have often worked this group into my commentaries. I joined the group at the urgings of my friend Johnny Two-Dog and quickly assimi- lated into knighthood. Every winter like clockwork, the group shrinks when many fly down to Florida to escape the cold and snow. Bucky was the dean of the group, the head knight. We all awaited his arrival with his books and magazines and his usual greeting, "The li- brary is open." He would sit by the window and talk about World War II when he served in the U.S. Navy. He was also never without that unlighted cigar in his mouth. He was a chewer, not a smoker. The past year wasn't one of his best. Time appeared to be catching up with him but he continued to push for- ward. Not long ago he and his son Richie headed to Florida for the winter, but it came to a quick end when Bucky passed away this past Monday at the age of 89. The gang already misses him and his refrain, "The library is. open." However, now Bucky has taken his library with him to heaven, where hopefully he is allowed to chew on that cigar. Bucky seemed to be as well known in East Boston as he was in the North End. He was a bit rough around the edges but quite loveable, too. He was always honest, upfront, kept up on everything in the news and had opinions on everything. He was a young 89 years old and full of life. When he wasn't at the donut shop, he was down at the brand new East Boston library on Bremen Street. There will be a memorial service for Bucky at the Most Holy Redeemer in East Bos- ton on Saturday, March 22 "d at 11:00 am. Those who wish to make a donation in his name may do so to the "Friends of the East Boston Library," a place that he enjoyed immensely. Good bye Bucky, it was good to know youl Saiit Theophanes was born in Constantinople about the year 758. He was the son of Isaac, imperial governor of the islands of the White Sea, and of Theodora, about whom little is known. After the early death of his par- ents, he came to the Court of Constantine Copronimus. He was married at the age : twelve, however he and _s wife vowed themselves t.o libacy. In 799, after the :leath of his father-in-law, they separated with mutual consent to enter religious life, she choosing a convent on an island near Constan- tinople, while he entered the monastery called Poly- chronius in the district of Sigriano near Cyzicus to become a hermit. Theophanes' wisdom and holiness were quickly noticed by others. He decided to use his = great- wealth -to  foriTt Saint Theophanes the Chronicler by Bennett Molinari and Richard Molinari two monasteries, becoming abbot of the one on Mount Sigriana. While he lived in the monastery, he worked to write a history of the Chris- tian world starting at the end of the Diocletian perse- cution to the early ninth century. It was for this work that he became known as the Chronicler. Theophanes was present at the second General Council of Nicaea, 787, and signed its decrees in defense of the sacred images. Thophanes' studies were brought to" a halt by the persecutions of the emperor of Constantinople, Leo the Armenian who in 814, renewed the persecution against the church, and abolished the use of holy images, which had been restored under Constantine and Irene. "The emperor tried to get Theophanes to support his actions through subterfuge and coercion but he remained faithful to Rome. Leo, unable to change the mind of Theophanes, placed, him in a dungeon for two years where he suffered much, he was scourged, hav- ing received 300 lashes. He was taken from his dungeon, and banished to the isle of Samothracia, where he died seventeen days after his ar- rival, on March 12, 818. His feast day is celebrated on - March-- t.-2 . ........ SPEAKING Massachusetts Anti-SLAPP Statute Applies in Federal Court For the first time in .the United States District Court for the District of Massachu- setts, a federal judge has held that the Massachusetts anti-SLAPP (Strategic Law- suit Against Public Partici- pation) statute, G.L.c. 231, 59H, applies to state law claims pending before the federal court. This is an important development in Massachusetts, because it means that the protections afforded by the Massachu- setts anti-SLAPP statute cannot be avoided through "forum shopping." As this development is somewhat technical, I will begin with a basic summary of the con- cept lawyers call *federal- ism" in order to lay the foun- dation for discussing a very exciting development in the law. In Massachusetts, as in every other state in the country, there are both state and federal courts. State courts are administered and funded by the state govern- ment: judges are appointed by the governor of Massachu- setts (subject to the approval of the Governor's Council), the state legislature appro- priates funds for the state court's budget and state court judges hear all man- ner of cases. But, generally, the cases heard by state court judges in state courts are cases concerning ques- tions of state law (laws passed by the Massachusetts Legislature). Federal courts, in turn, are courts that exist pursuant to federal law -- the law of the government of the United States. Federal judges are appointed by the Presi- dent, with the advice and consent of the United States Senate and generally, but not always, hear cases concern- ing questions of federal law (laws passed by Congress). As opposed to state courts, which lawyers sometimes call "courts of general juris- diction," federal courts are courts of "limited jurisdic- tion." This means that fed- eral courts will refuse to hear a case uniess a basis exists for the court to do so. The two most common bases for a federal court to hear a case are *federal question" and "diversity" jurisdiction. Put simply, federal question jurisdiction refers to cases where a question of federal law is at issue. Common ex- amples of federal question cases include disputes over the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Fair LaBor Standards Act (FLSA), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), and the False Claims Act (FCA); these are all federal laws passed by the United States Congress. The other common basis for federal jurisdiction, diversity jurisdiction, involves cases where there are no ques- tions of federal law, but par- ties in the case are from dif- ferent states (Diversity ju- risdiction also requires that the monetary value of the dispute be at least $75,000.) Examples of these cases could be contract disputes between an in-state and an out-of-state company, tort claims such as claims for negligence against out-of- state drivers and other claims involving only state law issues. Thanks to diver- sity jurisdiction, a car acci- dent case between a resi- dent of Massachusetts and a resident of Rhode Island could be heard in fe'deral court if there was at least $75,000 in dispute in the case. However, a car acci- dent case between a resi- dent of Boston and a resid- ent of Worcester would almost never be heard in federal court, regardless of the amount in dispute, because both parties in such a case would be resi- dents of the same state -- Massachusetts. When federal courts hear cases *on diversity grounds," they are supposed to act like their state court counter- parts and apply the state law as it is (except with regard to the procedural rules). In other words, fed- eral courts in diversity cases are supposed to apply state law as state courts would -- the Massachusetts federal court must, for example, defer to the opinions of the Supreme Judicial Court and may not substitute its opin- ion of what Massachusetts law says, unless the state law in question clearly vio- lates a federal law. (This is called pre-emption and is another issue for another column.) The purpose of this rule is to have cases involv- ing state law claims resolved the same way, regardless of whether the case is heard in state or federal court. A case that would have been won in state court should not be lost in federal court simply because the federal court chooses to interpret state law differently -- the goal of federal courts hear- ing diversity cases is to ensure fairness irrespective of the forum. The difficult part of this system is that the federal courts have different rules than the state courts with regard to how cases are heard. These are called the procedural rules. Although state and federal procedural rules are often similar, they are sometimes very differ- ent. And for cases before the federal court, the federal rules of procedure apply, even if the court is apply- ing only state law to the legal issues. The difference between what is a proce- dural rule and what is a sub- stantive state law, however, is not always clear. For example, the Massa- chusetts Legislature has enacted a law called the anti-SLAPP statute, which is designed to protect "petition- ing activity" by giviFig courts authority to throw out a lawsuit that is *based on" another person's petitioning activity. Petitioning activity includes calling your Con- gressman and asking him  to vote a certain way, com- plaining to a government agency about an unsafe con- dition, and, perhaps most importantly, filing a lawsuit to protect your rights. Put simply, the anti-SLAPP stat- ute is meant to prohibit a person from suing you be- cause you've done nothing more than complain to a gov- ernment agency about that person because you believe he or she has done some- thing wrong or illegal. The difficulty with the anti- SLAPP statute is that, on its surface, it appears to be a rule that controls how courts are supposed to hear cer- tain cases -- it appears to be a procedural rule that requires courts to throw out cases "based on petitioning activity." While it is clear that Massachusetts state courts must apply the anti- SLAPP law, what about the federal courts hearing cases involving Massachu- setts state law? Must the Massachusetts federal court throw out cases when they appear to be based on peti- tioning activity? For a number of years, multiple judges of the Mas- sachusetts federal court said "no" and rejected efforts by lawyers to apply the Massa- chusetts anti-SLAPP statute in federal court, ruling that the law is a procedural rule applicable only in state court. However, in 2010 the 1 t Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the appellate court for most federal coui-ts in New England (including Mas- sachusetts), heard a case from the Federal District Court for Maine involving Maine' anti-SLAPP statute. In that case, the Court of Appeals held that Maine's anti-SLAPP law could be used in federal court and that, although it appeared proce- dural, it effectively protected substantive legal rights (the right to be free from be- ing targeted by a coercive lawsuit) that Maine's fed- eral court was obligated to recognize. Although the Court of Appeals made its decision about Maine's anti-SLAPP law in 2010, no federal judge in Massachusetts had been asked to reconsider the issue of Massachusetts anti- SLAPP law following the Court of Appeals' decision, until last year. In a very excit- ing opinion, Judge Nathaniel Gorton of the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts held that Maine's anti-SLAPP law (Continued on Page 12)